Peter Lovenkrands in Rangers rallying cry as he reveals emotional fan story close to his heart
Peter Lovenkrands knows it’s coming.
The preemptive chuckle on the other end of the phone reveals it.
After all, it’s Rangers v Celtic in the Scottish Cup at Hampden this weekend.
So he waits for her.
Because chances are that every day of his life since May 4, 2002, someone has mentioned him.
Whether it’s in person, on social media — or having reporters call it out — it’s the one moment in his career that will NEVER go away.
And Lovenkrands wouldn’t have it any other way.
We are testing a new site:
Of course, the Dane has already remembered his cup final winner in the 90th minute. He will never tire of it.
But perhaps for the first time, Lovenkrands talks about what it means to him now.
Because, over time, he realized that it had not only changed his life.
It has impacted the lives of Rangers fans around the world, all with their different circumstances and stories.
That’s why he gets emotional when talking about it.
Today’s Old Firm showdown at Hampden could be a semi-final, not a final.
But the importance of this is not lost on Lovenkrands who until June 2020 worked as a coach at Rangers.
He is now a gaffer in his own right at Danish club Fremad Amager.
And from his base in Copenhagen, he casts his spirit 20 years ago to date in Hampden.
Not to the atmosphere, his first goal, Barry Ferguson’s astonishing free-kick or his last-minute header to make it 3-2.
But more on what the goal meant to him and how it affected people years later.
He said MailSport “It’s a moment that Rangers fans and their families cherish. That’s what makes it special for me.
“To me, being a part of this means so much. I feel emotion thinking about it, even now.
“Because I’ve heard so many stories about it from fans over the years.
“I’ve heard people talk about what it means to them and their family members.
“There was a guy who told me he was supposed to go to Hampden with his dad.
“But his father ended up in hospital and couldn’t go to the game.
“He left alone and immediately afterwards he went to the hospital to tell his father about my goal and my Scottish Cup victory.
“And shortly after, his father passed away.
“It’s just one story and there are many more Rangers fans around the world.
“Sons and daughters, who ended up losing their parents, told me how their mother or father talked about that day in their life before they passed away.
“These things, as a footballer, you just have to cherish them and be proud of them. To be part of that history is amazing.
“It’s something I’ll always be grateful for. I am part of this great club and I managed to give people a special memory.
“I will never take that for granted. It’s as special to me as it is to everyone.
“It was a life-changing moment. That was when everything changed for me at Rangers.
“I was still a young boy, I had just turned 22. I didn’t really understand how big the goal was for the club.
“I knew it was an incredible moment to win the cup at the last minute.
“But it was only as the years passed and the memory grew that I realized that I would probably be part of the club’s history forever.
“It’s always the thing everyone wants me to talk about. My Champions League goals are mentioned. But that is the goal that Rangers supporters will always associate with me in their minds.
“That’s why they will always remember me.”
Lovenkrands’ place in Ibrox folklore is definitely assured.
But he admits it’s time for the current crop to gain iconic status at the club.
Winning domestic trophies used to be the norm for Rangers, but not anymore.
They haven’t lifted the Scottish Cup since 2009.
And ahead of today’s derby, he urged someone in Gio van Bronckhorst’s ranks to become a hero.
Lovenkrands said: “I want this group of players to go and create their own moment against Celtic.
“I want someone to go and make a statement in Hampden, like score a hat-trick, just to bring that cup back to Ibrox.
“I’d rather it wasn’t a last-minute winner – just leave that to me, please? No, just kidding.
“I would love for one of those Rangers players to really step up, be the hero of the day and help bring that trophy home.
“I don’t want the moment to pass these boys.
“Cup matches give players those opportunities because they are one-off matches. Someone they can change so many people’s lives.
“Another great example is Bert Konterman. The same season I scored in the Scottish Cup final, we faced Celtic in the League Cup semi-final.
“Bert scored an incredible goal to win it and that strike will live with him forever.
“Hopefully someone can step in this time and seize one of those moments for themselves.
“A cup would be huge now for the club. We won the league last year but a cup is missing – that’s something Rangers haven’t had for a very long time.
“In this regard, the semi-final is a huge match.
“It’s crazy that Rangers haven’t won a Scottish Cup for 13 years, it’s crazy that it’s been so long. That’s why there’s extra pressure on Sunday because they’re so close now.
“If they can get past Celtic, I hope they keep picking it up.”